Magic in Age of Sigmar is both easy and powerful, so let’s see how it works! First off to use magic you will need a wizard in your army. There are magical items in the game, usually carried by heroes, but wizards are your best option.
There’s no special magic phase in Age of Sigmar. It’s all done in the hero phase at the start of each turn. This means that your wizard can cast spells before your commander uses his command skills, after the command skills. If you have more than you can cast your magic between your command skills. Also if you have more than one wizard you can cast their skills in any order.
As you can cast your magic in any order have a think about which spells will stop your opponent stopping your other spells later in the round. A fireball in the chest often does the job!
To cast a spell you roll two dice ( usually, check the wizards special rules) and roll a number equal or higher than the casting value for the spell. This means that it is a good idea to know now likely it will be that a spell will get cast.
If you roll two 6 sided dice ( 2D6 ) you will get an average roll of 7. This means that casting values of 5 will happen most of this time ( 30 out of 36 times or 5 out of 6 rolls ). Spells with a casting difficulty of 7 will happen half of the time. If the difficulty is 8+ then either you need to be desperate or have assistance like being near a piece of arcane scenery.
Age of Sigmar Magic Demonstration
Here is a demonstration video I created where you can see magic at work in an Age of Sigmar battle.
Arcane Bolt and Mystic Shield
The two most popular spells in Age of Sigma by far are the Arcane Bolt and Mystic Shield spells. These can be found in the basic rules and can be cast by just about every wizard in the game. Wizards may have other signature spells too, but they will be able to cast these two as well.
Arcane Bolt is the easier of the two to comprehend. You choose a target, see if you hit, and if you do, you cause D3 mortal wounds.
The Mystic Shield is a little more tactical. Instead of killing your enemies directly, Mystic Shield affects one of your units by improving thier basic save by 1. This doesn’t sound like much but it’s quite surprising how much a single point of armour save helps. Remember that this bonus can be combined with other saves like woodland cover save or re-roll bonuses from having shields.
When selecting a unit choose one that you think will be needing to make alot of saves that turn. This could be from close combat or shooting attacks. Most magical attacks cause mortal wounds that will not be saved from this spell.
Magic and Pitched Battles
With the release of the Generals Handbook there has been a tweak in the rules for magic if you play Pitched Battles. However the tweak can have a profound change in how magic users can be used, and this effect increases as you add more wizards to your army.
The change is that you can only use a spell once per army per turn. So for example each side ( even if you have have several players per side in a multi player game). If you only have one wizard in your army then this means that if the wizard can cast two or more spells a turn, then they have to be two different spells ( eg, you can not cast the arcane bolt spell twice in a turn). When you have two wizards you will see that you can cast the Arcane bolt spell once, and the mystic shield spell once per turn. When you get to three wizards you need to start relying on the wizards signature spells, or one or more wizards will be useless that turn.
So what’s the best way to use magic now?
If you are playing smaller games, keep to one or two wizards. if you are playing larger games where you want to field many wizards, then use different types of wizard, each with a different signature spells. Also you need to keep a closer eye on which wizards are going to use which spells. Once you are comfortable doing this you should start planning a few moves ahead too!